View Full Forums : Science Question Poll

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-04-2004, 05:08 AM
No Googling.

Just vote what you know when you read this poll.

01-04-2004, 08:17 PM
LOL! Good one. I bet there's a good percentage of doctors that would still get this one wrong.

01-04-2004, 10:43 PM
I have chosen... wisely!

01-05-2004, 02:42 AM
I vote trick question...this sort of thing always is. :P

01-05-2004, 01:50 PM
No trick to it. Just.... /clamps her hand over her mouth

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-06-2004, 06:07 AM
It has been running 60% for stress and acid, and about 40% for bacterial infection for just about the whole time. I don't really think that will change all that much.

Is it time to reveal the answer?

01-06-2004, 07:33 AM

now haha!


alyn cross
01-06-2004, 11:47 AM
im getting a stomach ulcer from either not knowing the answer or from some bugs in my coffee this morning...

if your asking, it's prolly bacterial infection.

01-06-2004, 01:55 PM
I think so, Fyyr. It is interesting how long it takes for new information to filter its way into "common knowledge". The discovery of the true cause of ulcers is definitely not new. But it did take a long time before doctors in the US would accept the findings of a doctor outside the US. It was believed that bacteria could never survive in the extremely acidic stomach juices.

Extra bonus points for how the ulcer causing bug is commonly spread and the name of the bacteria.

Other than the belief that the world is flat, I like to point to the "common knowledge" of ulcers whenever someone thinks I should believe something simply because most other people believe it.

Oh, there is another cause of ulcers you didn't mention. That's taking certain medications, even aspirin and ibuprofen and other NSAIDS.

Here's an interesting article about how the two doctors who did research, including infecting themselves with the bacteria, were ignored for about 10 years before someone in the states finally decided to try their own clinical trial.

Anyway, I delight in stuff like this where something new comes along that no one expected and whacks everyone upside the head and makes people look like fools. Just so long as I'm not the one looking like a fool. :p

01-06-2004, 03:13 PM
Dammit, Jim, I'm a shaman, not a gastrointestinal specialist! :evilgrin:

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-06-2004, 06:46 PM
Ya Pan, I was going to put 'most', but I wanted the poll to be clean and as free of interpretation(trick question) as possible for 'natural' ulcers.

It was a question of uncommon sense/knowledge, if you will.

Helicobacter pylori causes about 90% of stomach ulcers in humans. It destroys the protective mucus layer that allows the stomach acids to do the dirty work.

And while the poll was completely unscientific, it does give a good sample. For me.

Thank you all for participating.


Sobe Silvertree
01-06-2004, 07:11 PM
So take some darn Anti-biotics instead of Tums and Motrin??

01-06-2004, 10:07 PM
Yeah, the test is easy, they just look at your spit I think. Then I believe the treatment is a combination of two antibiotics and another drug, which I don't recall what it does.

Also, it is thought that flies can spread H. Pylori. It is also found in untreated water sources and can be spread by smooching. So be sure to put a condom on your tongue... ROFL!

Actually, according to that article, the bacteria is present in people that don't ever develop ulcers, so there's other things at work there too.

01-08-2004, 03:56 PM
Actually, according to that article, the bacteria is present in people that don't ever develop ulcers, so there's other things at work there too.

It probable that H. Pylori is just one of the resident fauna (are bacteria considered flora?) in people's stomach. They don't really do much harm in a healthy person but in times of stress, they can reach damage causing populations.

Which begs the question ... What causes ulcers? The bacteria that's already present? Or the stress that allows the bacteria to multiply?

01-08-2004, 04:33 PM
I don't think there is any evidence pointing to stress and ulcers being related. It could just be an individual thing that some people are immune or resistant to the effects of H. Pylori and some aren't. Just differences in biology. It's not a bacteria that has any sort of symbiosis with us, ie doesn't digest food for us or anything, like the ones in the bowels do. And it is a lot more common in areas without good sanitation. I think most animals are immune to it, so perhaps some humans also have some immunity or resistance to it as well.

Here's a quote from that article I posted above:

How does H. pylori cause a peptic ulcer?
H. pylori weakens the protective mucous coating of the stomach and duodenum, which allows acid to get through to the sensitive lining beneath. Both the acid and the bacteria irritate the lining and cause a sore, or ulcer.

H. pylori is able to survive in stomach acid because it secretes enzymes that neutralize the acid. This mechanism allows H. pylori to make its way to the "safe" area--the protective mucous lining. Once there, the bacterium's spiral shape helps it burrow through the lining.

Another article says 2/3's the worlds population is infected with it, but mostly in undeveloped countries or amongst poor people.

Interestingly it can eventually cause stomach cancer, but they don't recommend routine testing or treatment unless you have symptoms of ulcers or stomach cancer. I think stomach cancer is fairly rare in this country.

Anyway, I wouldn't try to associate stress with ulcers any longer as there really is no evidence of any association and they *do* now have a pretty clear idea of the causes.

When I do hear people talking about stress causing diseases I often think they simply don't know what causes the disease and laying it on stress is a lot easier than simply saying, "Dunno why you're sick or how to treat you".

01-08-2004, 06:05 PM
Oh, this is interesting. In 1995 90% of the people polled still believed ulcers were caused by stress. 13 years after the real cause had been found and published. So here we are, 9 years later down to 60%. :) That's progress!

01-08-2004, 07:06 PM
Sorta a trick question there, without the acid, there would be no ulcers. The bacteria wouldn't be there because we'd have no stomach per se, so the stomach would not get ulcers ;).

01-08-2004, 07:15 PM
I don't think there is any evidence pointing to stress and ulcers being related.

True enough. But there is ample evidence that stress can lead to a suppressed immune system. Compromised bug killing ability leads to more bugs. More bugs (in this case ulcer bugs) leads to ulcers. Ulcers lead to the DARK SIDE!!!

01-08-2004, 09:46 PM
Heh! You're determined to cling onto the stress link, aren't you?

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-09-2004, 07:54 PM
Well it was not suppose to be a trick question.

It would be hard to have a poll give any useful information if it said.

"Do you know that H. Pylori causes most of all stomach ulcers instead of all the things that you were told, like stress, adrenaline, and stomach acid?"

1) Yes
2) No

We were running 60% for one 40% for the other. Either way that is a substantial difference of opinion. I think it is still a good survey that the majority is not always right. I was there 5 months ago, I had no clue, either. This is not "Street Smarts", if you got it wrong, it's not really your fault(as Pan mentioned).

Let me put it this way, if you knew that ulcers were caused by a bacteria you can change your answers here.

And I have no idea what 'The Kaballa' is either.

01-10-2004, 12:55 AM
I think the only reason I knew is because I subscribed to a digest that sums up the weeks science articles in smallish blurbs. I read it there and thought it was utterly amazing. And I've always been pretty fascinated by medicine and research stuff so I tend to sniff out these things.

I should've been a doctor!

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-10-2004, 07:20 AM
Pan, do you know what MRSA or VRE are?

01-10-2004, 07:07 PM
Nope, I confess ignorance. Do tell. OH wait, are they antibiotic resistant bacterias? Scary stuff. :\

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-10-2004, 07:40 PM
"antibiotic resistant bacterias"


The reason I mention them is that they may play a role in the systematic ignorance on the H Pylori thing.

And if you are a critical thinker, it does not take a lot to get from there to here in terms of where those bugs actually arose from. Nonetheless, considering the great hesitancy of discussing the actual origin, may be a clue as to some method of clinical silence.

That is to say, the medical community is reluctant to explain how the super antibiotics were 'misused' during the 80's(just remember which patients get the super anti-biotics). And given that, it would be difficult to turn down a patient with a peptic ulcer who now wants anti-biotics to treat it. But they are still faced with the problem of prophalactic anti-biotic use even further causing continued resistance by other bacteria.

"Hey Doc, my think I got an ulcer, can I get some tetracycline?"

01-10-2004, 08:58 PM
No question people badger their doctors to get antibiotics for stuff antibiotics can't cure, like colds. I've seen and heard that stuff all the time. And not just that, but what about not completing a prescribed course of antibiotics? So you've knocked out the most weakest, most antibiotic prone part of the bacteria, You start feeling good, but you've left behind the stronger ones... now they breed. You pass this on to a few other people, some of them don't complete their antibiotic regimine so the stronger bugs get stronger. Until you've got something that's really difficult to cure with the typical arsenal of antibiotics. I am pretty sure that's how the antibiotic resistant tuberculosis is spreading. Especially among poor and homeless people. They can't afford to go to the doctor and continue their antibiotic treatments, or they're too messed up on drugs or alchohol to follow through. So the disease is getting more and more resistant to treatment. Which really sucks for the rest of us. Another argument for universal health care, imho. People who can't afford, or aren't getting good health care could be incubating diseases that'll afflict the rest of us.

If you read though, the stuff prescribed for H Pylori is 2 types of antibiotics and another drug to lower stomach acid (to let the ulcer cure).

I think the ignorance about ulcers is, from what I read, doctors always assumed that nothing could survive the hostility of the stomach environment. Then some punk guy,with the audacity to be a foreigner says, "Hey, lookie, I found bacteria in the stomach in cadavers with ulcers". And everyone said, "nuh uh, that can't happen", and they put him on /ignore for 13 years.

In the course of this discussion I did some lookign around and, believe it or not, the CDC actually did some advertising and publicity some time ago to spread knowledge to doctors and people that ulcers are caused by a bacteria. I don't think they did enough of it though.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-10-2004, 11:35 PM
I think you are missing what I am trying to get at.

Look at who 'Patient One' was, what type of patient in each one of these so called super bugs was?

Now look at the hesitation to discuss where they actually come from. There is an obvious blanket on the subject. It is almost taboo to discuss how they were made.

And that type of intentional silence may also be at work with the H Pylori silence. That was what I am saying.

In terms of the medical or scientific communities, that silence can not be an accident. I don't even think that ignorance on their part is the thing, maybe for an individual physician sure, but not the whole community.

And I am not convinced that the CDC is entirely stupid on this issue, either. If you take a look at their tracking of what diseases do and do not get tracked, and when that tracking starts and stops, one gets a good sense that those decisions are probably motivated by things other than what you and I assume those motivations are. Or look at the euphamisms that they use, when they discuss MRSA or VRE, for that matter, it is almost like they are speaking in a code. They obfuscate the descriptions of patients where they were originally found(and continue to find) the bugs with terms like 'multiple pre-existing conditions' or 'immuno compromised' or'nosocomial' instead of what the lay person would use or understand.

01-22-2004, 01:16 PM
I think you are missing what I am trying to get at.
I'll be the first to admit sometimes I don't follow you. :p

Enough time has elapsed that I don't remember the details and you're not stating things you think I should be infering. So I'm absolutely not following your drift at all!

Are you suggesting antibiotic resistant strains of germs were manufactured intentionally?

And what is "the H Pylori silence"? Who is being silent about it? The NIH went on a year long education program to get the word out to doctors and presumably people that ulcers are caused by bacteria (often). But it takes a long time for new information to trickle into becoming "common knowledge". For instance, look at how many people will still tell you to bundle up against the cold so you don't get a cold.

There needs to be a tag. :)

There was a period here where no one did any research on the HP/ulcer connection. Why? Because the initial doctors that did it weren't taken seriously by the American medical/science establishment. The way we do science in the US is sometimes good, sometimes not so good. But it does mean we tend to move slowly if someone else discovers something before it is done here, I think. And it probably means lots of good studies get ignored. But then again, lots of bad studies get rightfully ignored too. And it is all about funding studies too. The government funds studies out of political motivations a lot of the time, not out of what is good for science knowledge. The industries fund studies to try to prove whatever they want to prove for their own gain. I think there's a real lack of just funding science to just understand something new. Taxpayers see that kind of stuff and get horrified about it. It might be worthless knowledge in and of itself, but it might lead to something cool down the line. Anyway, the point here is that new knowledge is slow to be assimilated and it is probably good and bad.

As far as antibiotic resistant infections are concerned, I think it stands to reason they'd develop naturally. Look at anything that you use to kill bugs, herbicides, whatever. Eventually you end up with some spontaneous mutation which comes up with a weed you can't kill with round-up, or an ant you can't kill with AntAway. Its because each thing meant to destroy another thing attacks in a specific way and if the thing changes a bit so that specific way won't be sufficient any longer. So then you have to start combining them together and hope to find another vulnerability to exploit.

Are you hatching a conspiracy theory, Fyyr? Truthfully, I tend not to believe in conspiracies because people suck at keeping secrets.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-24-2004, 08:33 PM
"Are you suggesting antibiotic resistant strains of germs were manufactured intentionally?"

Of course not.

What I am saying is that we systematically gave the strongest anti-biotics to people who were chronically ill. For years and years.

And we now blame those anti-biotic resistant microbes on nurses with dirty nails, irresponsible doctors prescribing willy nilly, and pig feed.

When it is highly unlikely that that is where they came from, or will continue to be grown first.

And that we, as a society, are not willing to discuss where and how they came into being in the first place.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-24-2004, 08:38 PM
"I tend not to believe in conspiracies..."

I do too(not believe). But I am a former alarm and locksmith owner. In every TV show or movie where a bad guy 'picks a lock'. They do it wrong.

Everytime I have seen someone defeat an alarm system in a TV show or movie, they have done it wrong.

I just watched a CSI where the murderer, an MD, wiped up a brutal murder scene with bleach, and not hydrogen peroxide. That show is highly detailed, and has many consultants. Why would anyone clean a murder scene with bleach?

Are those really conspiracies>?

01-25-2004, 01:48 AM
Hmmm... my reply never made it. Probably closed the wrong browser window.

I still maintain that it was just short-sightedness, lack of experience and entirely inevitable that antibiotics will one day be resisted by the diseases they work on today. Take for instance the strain of antibiotic resistant tuberculosis going around. It seems to be incubating the most in homeless people. Kind of makes sense. They get sick, somehow get some medical care, get perscribed some antibiotics. But you have to take a loooong, looong course for tuberculosis. They don't have homes, much less ready access to doctors and money for prescriptions or transportation to clinics or they're too doped up or fugued out to be able to handle the responsibility of their own health care. So they're incubating a lovely difficult to treat disease that will, if they come into contact with you and me, spread.

One of my beefs with our health care system is that we have 45 million people without health care who can't afford expensive long-term treatments for things. So they quit taking their antibiotics before they're cured and that is just going to incubate nice drug resistant new strains.

We've had a nice run with antibiotics but I really hope they've got something else up their sleeve because this won't work forever.

Oh yeah, here's a fascinating article about the DR Tuberulosis.$99

Drug resistant TB is a huge threat to modern society because TB can become drug resistant very rapidly if not monitored. Drug resistance generally occurs when people do not complete their antibiotic treatment programs causing microbes to develop resistance through natural selection. Natural selection occurs when a single microbe of a population contains a mutation to a specific antibiotic, allowing it to successfully reproduce in the presence of that antibiotic until an entirely new resistant population emerges. Since TB is caused by a mycobacterium, which grows very slowly, most people must take antibiotics for six to nine months to eliminate the bacteria from their body (Lenaerts et. al., 2000). The length of treatment varies depending on each individual; in some cases treatment can last up to two years, especially in people diagnosed with AIDS. It is important that an antibiotic regimen last for a lengthy period of time, even though symptoms are usually gone after one month, because every microbe needs to be killed in order to ensure that drug resistant strains will not emerge. Mycobacterium also rapidly gains resistance against many antibiotics so that the disease is normally treated with multiple drugs.

The part I bolded there is significant. Spontaneous mutations will happen regardless of what anyone does. So drug resistant strains are inevitable.

What I wonder is why are hospitals such a breeding ground for them?

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-25-2004, 04:24 AM
So the next poll we should do is to see whether or not everyone knows there is a vaccine for TB.

Let me ask you another question. From the media or what most of us would call normal channels of health news, what would you be lead to believe is the cause of the increase of cesarean-section births in the last 30 years?

And if you happen to know the real answer, why would you suppose that it is not commonly known or reported?

01-25-2004, 01:03 PM
Hmmm... don't think I've heard it discussed except on Dr. Dean Edell's show. I think the cause is so the doctor doesn't have to wait around for a long slow delivery. But truthfully, I can't remember. It might have been for medical malpractice reasons too, but I don't quite recall.

I just learned there's a vaccine for pnuemonia! I had no idea. But I guess it is only given to folks over 55 or 60 or something, because they're more likely to die if they get pnumonia.

Fyyr, I have no idea why the media reports what it does. My guess is because they're really in the entertainment business rather than the education business. I mean, why is Mayor Bloomberg insulting the dead Dr. Atkins and his widow's response to it front page news while lots and lots of things that are actually important to know buried in the back and rarely reported in a way that will reach the common person who doesn't dig for information? Why do News outlets trout out self-proclaimed pundits who know little to nothing about what they're talking about? I think it is laziness and pressure to get ratings.

There's always a lot of discussion of this stuff and I'm not sure who is to blame, the big corporations who have a strangle hold over the media marketplace? The people who watch the craptastic stuff on TV or buy the magazines? Or is the people deciding what to air? I will tell you, ratings, subscriptions, etc means everything to these guys.

I should ask my brother I guess. He's a news director at a tv station.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-25-2004, 02:39 PM
I will give you a hint.
A virus.
That the CDC does not track.
That a lot of people have, and there is no cure for.
That causes severe birth defects when transmitted to the neonate.
That no one talks about.

I have heard some pretty plausible explanations but as soon as you figure it out, they all seem so, so pathetic.

I just read about a Seattle study after I posted that last night : Does acyclovir reduce the number of c-sections? The study got borked. Being a placebo and double blind study got it borked. There were too many women in the control group taking acyclovir on their own, that they could not get conclusive results.

Oh, and the Atkins thing, I thought that was hilarious.

01-25-2004, 05:32 PM
Oh, herpes? Birth defects happen before a baby is delivered. Just looked and apparently the worst risk of herpes is Mom getting it for the first time while preggers. Having a flare up during a pregnancy shouldn't be a problem. There is more of a risk of passing it along during a flare up during delivery, but it still sounds like it isn't terribly likely. My friend delivered her babies normally and I know she's got herpes.

I wonder though. That isn't the reason I heard for them.

You know, I also think that these things do get reported on. But they're only news for 24 hours, maybe 72 at best, then you don't hear about it again until a new study gets published, and only then sometimes. They aren't followed to death like political campaigns and no one makes public service announcements out of them. So their penetration into the public consciousness isn't deep for most folks.

Actually, I think "lack of progress" (i.e. the staff is tired of waiting and the Mom wants it to end) is the biggest reason for cesareans.

Put "reason for cesarean" into Goggle.

Here's proof that things do get reported on. This very topic is in a pretty reputable news magazine:

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-25-2004, 06:08 PM

"cesarean section is a serious, costly procedure that is commonly performed to prevent neonatal herpes, but the proportion of cesarean sections attributable to maternal genital herpes is uncertain"

It is uncertain because it is not tracked. It is not a reportable disease.

Which was my initial point, why is it not tracked? There has to be some reason that it is not, every other STD is, or just about. I don't know what that reason is.

"There is more of a risk of passing it along during a flare up during delivery" From what I have researched, it sounds like the process of delivery could be a cause of flare ups.

The common reasons I have heard for the increase in c-sections have ranged mostly from feminist rhetoric. The man doctors do not have the time. The male dominated medical community does not like midwives. Doctors are trying to make money off of women. That kind of stuff. Those are all plausible.

01-25-2004, 07:49 PM
Commonly != usually. The NIH (National Institute of Health) study in Pub Med cites "lack of progress" as being the main reason.

Lack of progress was a reason for 68% of unplanned, vertex cesareans. At least 16% of the subjects who had cesareans for lack of progress were in the latent phase of labor according to ACOG criteria. The second stage was not prolonged in 36% of the women who delivered at 10 cm. CONCLUSION: Lack of progress in labor is a dominant reason for cesarean delivery. Many cesareans are done during the latent phase of labor, and in the second stage of labor when it is not prolonged. These practices do not conform to published diagnostic criteria for lack of progress.

I read that there are certain criteria to meet that "lack of progress" and that doctors are doing cesareans before getting there. Not necessarily blaming the doctors, I'm sure there are women who are pushing (so to speak) to have cesareans. I mean, when you're in labor for 16 hours and might have another 8 hours to go, you might be thinking, "GET IT OUT NOW!". And another is that insurances generally don't cover cesareans unless they're medically necessary. And I think we all know that doctors can come up with "medically necessary" reasons when asked by their patients. For instance, mine came up with some reasons for me to have some moles removed that weren't really medically suspicious.

As far as why herpes isn't tracked, you realize this is the same virus that causes cold sores when it is on your face/mouth area. It isn't really all that dangerous of a STD. It's uncomfortable and painful but can be easily controlled. And it is extremely common.

Here's more from the NIH on herpes and pregnancy If a woman has her first episode of genital herpes while she is pregnant, she can pass the virus to her unborn child and may deliver a premature baby. Half of the babies infected with herpes either die or suffer from damage to their nerves. A baby born with herpes can develop serious problems that may affect the brain, the skin, or the eyes. If babies born with herpes are treated immediately with acyclovir, their chances of being healthy are increased.

If a pregnant woman has an outbreak, which is not the first episode, her baby’s risk of being infected during delivery is very low. In either case, if you are pregnant and infected with genital herpes, you should stay in close touch with your doctor before, during, and after your baby is born.

If a woman is having an outbreak during labor and delivery and there are herpes lesions in or near the birth canal, the doctor will do a cesarean section to protect the baby. Most women with genital herpes, however, do not have signs of active infection with the virus during this time, and can have a normal delivery.

What concerns me far more than that is why isn't vCJD tracked? That's the human variant of mad cow.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
01-26-2004, 12:56 AM
"And it is extremely common."

I know that. Estimates range from 1 in 4 to 1 in 5. But we do not know for sure.

The technology is here and inexpensive to collect the data. There is no real excuse to not implement tracking. Every hospital that I have been in, in the last 10 years, have had computers and internet access.

Personally, I don't care how benign a disease may appear to some it may be devastating to others. I think that even acne should be tracked.

What is tracked (

They track mumps and whopping cough, neither are terribly dangerous pathogens.

01-27-2004, 12:47 PM
Fyyr, here's one for you!

BTW: Just looking up the tuberculosis vaccine you mentioned, sounds like it doesn't work very well.

06-26-2004, 05:39 PM
It probable that H. Pylori is just one of the resident fauna (are bacteria considered flora?) in people's stomach. They don't really do much harm in a healthy person but in times of stress, they can reach damage causing populations.

Flora is the correct word.

07-09-2004, 01:24 AM
Flora is the correct word.

Incorrect, Fauna is the correct term. Flora, indicated by the presence of a cell wall and lack of voluntary locomotion, doesn't not describe bacteria type pathogens.

Fauna, however, does seem fitting, although I was unable to find a direct yes or no during my brief search on the net to find out the exact classification. I was able to find the exact definition of flora and fauna. Flora would be most correct IMO unless you happen to have a more reputable source for classification, otherwise the dictionary terms will do.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
07-09-2004, 09:26 PM
"Flora would be most correct IMO unless you happen to have a more reputable source for classification, otherwise the dictionary terms will do."

Flora is the correct term, not fauna. It is the term used by scientists, microbiologists, and the medical field. To describe bacterium(some will say yeasts and molds too) found on or in your body that are non pathogenic, and even beneficial, in normal everyday life.

Bacteria do have cell walls.
Some bacteria are motile, some are not. The Vibrios for example, that at least one specie causes cholera, get their name from their motility.

Helminths and worms would be classified as fauna, of course. But no rational person would consider them non pathogenic.